Action Alert: Tell the FCC that 988 Should Connect to Local Support

NAMI needs your help to ensure the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline can provide the most benefit to help-seekers in need of life-saving resources. If you call 988 today, you’re connected to a call center based on your phone’s area code, which still ensures help is available over the phone, but can delay connection to mental health resources in your community, mobile crisis teams (if needed), or additional local services.

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is asking for feedback from advocates like you on a proposed rule to fix this. This proposed change will help us fully realize the potential of 988 to be the life-saving resource that people in crisis need by better connecting people to local resources, while protecting callers’ privacy. The proposal would keep calls to 988 confidential, ensuring that callers’ personal information and location are not shared—only that they reach the closest call center to their location. We only have until Friday, June 28 to urge the FCC to finalize this proposal.

Below is a step-by-step process, including template comments, for you to follow to submit your comment to the FCC.

  • Click here to submit an express comment
  • In the first box, for the “Proceeding(s): Specify the FCC proceeding(s) to which your filing refers Number,” enter 18-336.
  • Once you enter the number, select “Implementation of the National Suicide Hotline Improvement Act of 2018” from the dropdown menu.
  • Enter your full name under “Name of Filer,” followed by your email and address in the remaining, required fields. NOTE: You do not need to enter the “+4” portion of your ZIP code, just the standard 5 digits.
  • In the textbox for “Brief Comments,” copy and paste the text below.
  • If you’d like to make your comment stronger, add a local or personal story at the end of the first paragraph.
  • Check the acknowledgement box and hit “Continue to Review Screen”.
  • Select the box that you are not a robot and then click “Submit”

Text to copy and paste for the feedback form:

Dear Chairwoman Rosenworcel,

Thank you for the opportunity to comment on the proposed rule, “National Suicide Hotline Act of 2018” (WC Docket No. 18–336). I am a mental health advocate with NAMI, the National Alliance on Mental Illness. I’m grateful to the Federal Communications Commission for your leadership to make the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline available nationwide. The 988 Lifeline has already been an incredible life-saving resource for me and my community.

That is why I fully support the proposed rule to require wireless carriers to implement georouting solutions for calls to the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline, while protecting confidentiality. Although callers currently will receive support from 988 crisis counselors regardless of location, a georouting solution for 988 would ensure people are connected to the care, support, and resources they need to get well and stay well throughout and after a crisis.

Every day, communities like mine bear the costs of an inadequate response to our ongoing mental health crisis – like the unmeasurable cost of losing our loved ones, friends, and neighbors because they couldn’t get the help and support they needed during an emergency. A solution to route calls to 988 based on general geographic location is a cost that would benefit our country to better support people in a mental health or suicide crisis during what may be the worst day of their lives.

Thank you again to the Federal Communications Commission for the opportunity to comment on this important proposed rule.